Jun 22 2014
“Crafting Water Bond For Ballot A Struggle” is the headline in today’s UT
San Diego, a six column half page piece by Michael Gardner that has a
serious omission. Without getting into the weeds of the plethora of
arguments between competing interests, where in this article is any
discussion of water pricing?
Three indisputable facts face California voters: 1) We are in the midst of a
record-setting drought with no end in sight; 2) The price paid for water is
too low. It is as if there was an unending supply. No other commodity is so
undervalued price-wise and 3) Water officials are seeking a way out of this
mess without raising the price paid for water. While the “sausage-making”
continues in Sacramento, there is no seat at the table for water users.
“Wrong”, the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) would say to that last
statement, “We represent you”.
SDCWA would have a much stronger position as they buzz around that $11
billion Water Bond honey-pot, if they would put as much effort into
educating the unwashed masses about undervalued water as they do playing
politics in Sacramento and fighting with the Metropolitan Water District
(MWD) in legal battles that will likely extend to the next century.
With agricultural users in California paying as little as sixty dollars an
acre-foot, and San Diego water users paying just under a thousand dollars an
acre-foot, there is ample room to raise the price to a level that would more
than fund the cost of indirect (IPR) and/or direct potable water recycling
(DPR). But no water user is going to vote for increased costs unless they
know why they need to pay more. Similarly, the Water Bond may go down in
defeat for the same reason.
Mayor Sanders won accolades for him and his administration by holding the
price of water far below its value, and now there is catch up to do. And the
SDCWA pats itself on the back for having water storage “that will take us
through 2014”. Really? That long, huh! This blog hopes a strong El Nino comes along
next winter to make your predictions right, but is that sound water policy?
If the water roulette ball falls into the wrong slot, we will all suffer.
And then there is the complicating factor of the USEPA waiver that expires
July 31, 2015. It has been three weeks since this blog wrote to Mayor
Falconer (including a self-addressed envelope) to answer a simple yes or no
question, “Are you in favor of the USEPA waiver?” It is not a surprise that
no answer has been forthcoming, not even a form letter from a low-level
Mushrooms are grown in the dark, surrounded by manure. There is an analogy
By Milt Burgess • Blog • 0 • Tags: augmentation, California Aqueduct, Colorado River, conservation, dry centuries, La Nina, MWD, precipitation, purification, rainfall, residential water user, water rate hike, wet centuries